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June 25, 2012

Ambulance proposal up for vote

CLINTON — The Clinton City Council on Tuesday will consider the proposal for the Clinton Fire Department to provide emergency, out-of-town ambulance transport services to Mercy Medical Center.

Under the agreement, the Clinton Fire Department would provide the back-up transport to Genesis Medical Center in Davenport or the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City in cases where Medic, the ambulance service Mercy Medical Center uses or a medical helicopter, was unavailable.

This is the second time the City Council will vote on the agreement.  It passed through the council in May, only to be vetoed by Mayor Mark Vulich.  Vulich cited lack of details and concern for how the agreement was placed on the Committee of the Whole agenda for his veto.

The orignal agreement moved to the Committee of the Whole after it was denied 2 to 1 in the Internal Operations Committee in April by member Paul Gassman, Ward 4, and member John Rowland, at-large.

City rules allow any member to put an item on the Committee of the Whole agenda despite the action taken in a committee. Council member Jennifer Graf, at-large, who voted to approve the agreement in the IOC, placed the item on the Committee of the Whole agenda. The agreement then passed through the City Council on May 8.

In response to the Mayor’s veto, the City Council, 5 to 2, moved the item and further details be sent to a different committee to be considered again. The City Services Committee then approved the item last month.

Throughout the second round of discussions, Fire Chief Mike Brown included more details of the agreement, including estimated costs and reimbursement rates. According to Brown, the agreement would be a wash, at worst.  

Brown and Paul Mangin, vice president of finance for Mercy, both maintained the emergency transports would only be used once or twice a year. Brown also assured the council the contract could be terminated at any time and the fire department would not deplete its own resources to provide backup to Mercy.

Two weeks ago, the Committee of the Whole approved the agreement 4 to 3, with Rowland, Gassman and Councilwoman Maggie Klaes, Ward 1, casting the dissenting votes.

If approved Tuesday, the agreement would be effective July 1.

After the regular council meeting, the Committee of the Whole will hear an update on the Lincolnway Railpark from Steve Ames, Clinton Regional Development Corp. President and CEO, as well as an update on the Clinton Public Library from Library Director Amy Birtell.  

The City Council will vote on the agreement during its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall with the Committee of the Whole immediately following.

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